Grupo de Puebla summit highlights Argentina’s new direction under Fernández
Argentina’s new political direction under president-elect
Alberto Fernández was
on display on Buenos Aires on Friday, as progressive leaders from across
Latin America gathered
for a Grupo de Puebla
The meeting, which runs
until Sunday, drew former
presidents Dilma Rousseff
(from Brazil), Fernando Lugo (Paraguay) and Ernesto
Samper (Colombia) to the
capital, with other attendees
including Uruguayan presidential candidate Daniel
Martínez, of the leftist Frente Amplio, who faces a runoff vote on November 24.
The event was backdropped by the dramatic release
from jail on Friday of former
leftist president Luiz Inácio
Lula da Silva. The iconic leader – who was serving a sentence of eight years and ten
months in prison for corruption and money-laundering,
under the framework of the
‘Lava Jato’ investigation –
was freed from prison in
Curitiba less than a day after
the Supreme Court ruled
that a person can be imprisoned only after all the appeals have been exhausted.
The Grupo de Puebla
meeting is the clearest indic a t i o n y e t o f w h a t
Argentina’s foreign policy
approach will be under Fernández. It’s the second summit of the group, which was
founded in Mexico in late
July, with the Frente de Todos leader as one of its main
“We want to look for in our
differences what unites us.
This meeting is an invitation
to reflect acting with 32 progressive leaders from 12
countries,” read promotional literature for the event.
The group has emerged as
a clear counterpart of the
Grupo de Lima, an initiative
that opposes the government of Nicolás Maduro in
Venezuela and seeks his removal from office.
In a clear clash of timing,
its members met in Brasilia
on Friday to analyse the situation in the crisis-stricken
country and debate its next
steps. It is the group’s first
meeting since Fernández
won the election.
In a September statement,
the Grupo de Puebla said it
rejects any military intervention in Venezuela or any
other use of force. On the
campaign trail, Fernández
advocated non-interventionist policies, echoing stances taken by Uruguay and
Mexico. He reiterated that
stance during his visit to
Mexico City this week to see
President Andrés Manuel
On Friday, Maduro celebrated the Frente de Todos
election, saying that “the
breeze of Perón and Néstor
Kirchner is being felt in Argentina.”
“Now it’s up to Mr. Alberto Fernández, to take on a
very hard, complex situation,” he said. “I hope Argentina wakes up because
Latin America needs a
strengthened, awake, vital
Peru calls for a reboot of
the Lima Group in Brasilia
The Peruvian government called for
a review of the Grupo de Lima and
its actions on Friday, as it admitted it
had reached stalemate.
“Our actions have produced some important things, but not the peaceful return of democracy” in Venezuela, Peru’s
Foreign Minister Gustavo Meza-Cuadra
said, at the inauguration of a ministerial
meeting held in Brasilia.
He called on the group’s members to
open channels of dialogue with all nations, including those that support the
Nicolás Maduro administration .
“Given this scenario, we must maintain
unity,” promote “a peaceful solution more effectively” and maintain “pressure on
the regime,” added Meza-Cuadra, who
warned the group’s members must not
fall into the trap of repeating its positions
Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie was
among those in attendance at the meeting, which also included officials from
Brazil, Colombia and Chile, among other
The meeting comes at a crucial moment for the region, in which the collective needs to re-evaluate its objectives if
it is to reach a common regional position
on the crisis in Venezuela.
“The Lima Group has to revise its positions because the Argentina case has
changed the internal working realities of
the group,” said political analyst Alberto
Adrianzen to AFP.
The bloc is no longer “the Lima Group
that applied the diplomacy of United
States president Donald Trump in the
region,” he said.
Alberto Fernández, Argentina’s newly
elected president, has advocated noninterventionist policies similar to those
of Mexican leader Andrés Manuel López
Obrador during his campaign.
“Dictators have non-democratic origins. That’s not the case in Venezuela,”
Fernández said in an August interview
with a local TV station.
Such comments have generated angst
among some Latin American neighbours, who fear the rise of Fernández’s
Frente de Todos party to political power
marks the loss of another country to the
The Lima Group, which joined 12 Latin
American countries and Canada to
search for an end to the Venezuelan crisis, was created in 2017.